Australia

Chinese firm suspends Queensland mine lease bid

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A Chinese company has suspended its bid for leases to develop a sprawling coal mine next to Adani' proposed coal mine in Queensland.

A Chinese company has suspended its bid to develop a large coal mine next door to Adani's proposed operation in Queensland.

The China Stone project promised to create thousands of jobs, but the state government says the company has "voluntarily not progressed" with its mining lease applications.

"MacMines has voluntarily not progressed their five mining lease applications for the China Stone project," the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has told the ABC.

"The schedule associated with progressing a mining lease application are subject to the proponent's commercial decisions."

The China Stone project is owned by MacMines Austasia, a subsidiary of China's Meijin Energy Group.

MacMines chief executive Russell Phillips told the ABC the project's future was under discussion and he wasn't in a position to elaborate.

But he also said it was "definitely not being shelved".

MacMines still holds an exploration permit and can reapply for mining leases in the future.

Queensland Resource Council boss Ian Macfarlane said given the size and location of the Galilee Basin, long time frames were expected for developments.

"Decisions about individual projects are business decisions for each proponent. Investments in resources projects involve significant capital and therefore changes in development timelines are not unusual," Mr Macfarlane said.

The Climate Council claimed the project failed to secure the backing of Chinese state-owned banks.

"It doesn't stack up environmentally or economically. China is thinking about the future and it wants less Australian coal," council CEO Amanda McKenzie said.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said she hadn't been given the intimate details for the company's decision to discontinue its applications.

"But I do understand that was a commercial decision," she told ABC television.

Asked about what it said about investor confidence in Queensland, she said mine projects must stack up environmentally and economically.

The proposed China Stone mine site is the closest to Adani's planned mine in the coal-rich Galilee basin.

Adani has repeatedly accused the state Labor government of changing the goal posts for its mine.

Regional voters turned against Labor at last weekend's federal election, at least in part because of drawn-out delays plaguing Adani's mine and the jobs it promises.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has spent the past year saying outstanding approvals that Adani needs will not be rushed.

But on Wednesday she said she was "fed up" waiting for departmental decisions on the approvals.

She ordered Queensland's Coordinator-General to oversee approvals for the mine.

Adani, the Department of Environment and Science, and the coordinator-general met on Thursday to nut out a deadline for decisions on the outstanding approvals.

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